Internet can be new frontier for gambling
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 21:01
Gambling is legal and present in every state in America, except for Utah and Hawaii, through casinos and lotteries. Twenty-five years ago, gambling was legal in only three states. There is a reason for gambling gaining popularity through the years: It is very profitable and successful and now in a less-dangerous way.
The U.S. Department of Justice has been against online gambling, but a little curiosity has changed the name of the game. Thanks to New York and Illinois asking questions, the federal government clarified the rules for online lottery ticket sales. It admitted the only thing illegal under federal law is sports betting over state and federal lines, as per the Wire Act of 1961.
President Barack Obama's administration's reinterpretation of the Wire Act is that the law is only applied to gambling regarding sports and event wagers, not online gaming wagers. So at this point, it is not a question of if or why online gambling will happen in Florida, but a matter of when.
Laws will be made in the future to help guide this new gambling frontier. They will have to lack the vagueness of past laws and regulations in order to establish a clear understanding of this frontier. Since the gambling will take place on the Internet, there may be security risks like with everything else online.
The success of the Florida Lottery is evidence of online gambling's potential success. Florida has no immediate plans to establish selling lottery tickets online, but with the move by the Department of Justice, the writing is on the wall. The trick is making sure the money is going to the right place. According to The Miami Herald, "The lottery is a reliable source of funding for our public schools and colleges and to date has contributed $23 billion to education."
Who would play? The question is: Who is already playing? Today, Internet gambling includes games such as poker online, which is legal. However, it was illegal to play for money. "John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, wants to pass a bill legalizing all Internet poker sites. He estimates 8 million to 10 million Americans — about 400,000 Floridians — play online through offshore accounts," according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
This new understanding gives Florida a chance to take a stand on gambling while generating revenue for the state. This money should stay in Florida. Online gambling would also save money for location reasons. It's revenue, and a strong source at that. Imagine, instead of a big casino company building a casino or race track which would use up money, land and state resources, the company could build them online. No fuss, no hassle.
"Proposals to allow or expand slots or casinos are percolating in at least 14 states, tempting legislators and governors at a time when many must decide between cutting services and raising taxes," according to the Associated Press.
Gambling is risky and dangerous. It has made its presence known and has been fairer to some than most. But ridding the world of these dangerous games died when the first state legalized it. While those who completely oppose gambling may not want it online, the best way to keep gambling from physically growing around the Sunshine State is to divert it to the Internet. It beats the alternative.